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Intel to buy into Taiwan RIMM firm

$40 million for connector company Hon Hai?

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Local Taiwanese sources said yesterday that chip firm Intel is set to take a $40 million share in a firm that makes connectors for Rambus inline memory modules (RIMMs). The reports suggest the money will be the first investment Intel has made in a components company. In the last 18 months, the Capital division of the Santa Clara firm has plunged billions of dollars into buying and investing in Internet infrastructure firms. Hon Hai Precision Industries signed a deal with Rambus Ink last June to provide connectors for RIMMs, as well as other components of the complex package, including the expensive heat spreading components. At its Developer Forum in February, both Intel and Rambus vowed to bring down the cost of RIMMs, which has been one factor in the slow acceptance of the reputedly faster memory technology. Hon Hai, which trades in the US as Foxconn International, is one of the top 10 supplier of connectors to the PC industry and has customers such as IBM, Compaq, HP and Intel itself as its customers. It makes connectors not just for RIMMs, but for the other essential components which go to make up a personal computer. Some 31 per cent of Hon Hai is already owned by investors outside of Taiwan. Its turnover is around $750 million. The deal it made with Rambus last June, made it the fourth firm to achieve compliance for RIMM connectors. ®

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